By DR GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCON, GCFR
President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
AT THE QUEEN’S BANQUET,
62ND COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING (CHOGM)
FRIDAY, 28 OCTOBER 2011
Your Majesty, The Queen
Head of the Commonwealth of Nations
Honourable Julia Gillard, our respected host
Excellencies, Presidents and Heads of Government
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
It is my special honour and privilege to be asked to propose a toast to the Commonwealth in the presence of Her Majesty, The Queen.
Let me begin by noting the special significance of this moment in the history of the Commonwealth, especially as Her Majesty will soon be marking her Diamond Jubilee and we might not have the opportunity to meet again as Commonwealth Family before the historic event.
Accordingly, on behalf of all of us, I would like to join the Honourable Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia and our host, to express profound thanks and appreciation to Her Majesty for leading the Commonwealth, these past six decades, with passion, dedication and commitment.
Our Commonwealth is remarkable not only because of the diversity of its membership, but principally because we are united by a set of shared values. Whether as rich, poor, small or large nations, we all aspire to live a life of freedom and dignity and to achieve economic and social progress for our people.
I believe these are precisely the same values that will ensure that our organisation remains relevant to its times and people in the future.
At her ascension to the throne in 1952, nearly 60 years ago, her Majesty captured the strength of our organisation when she noted that:
the Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: “friendship, loyalty and the desire for freedom and peace.”
The fact that the Commonwealth is now globally recognised as a force for good, particularly in the areas of democracy and development, bears testimony to the widespread acceptance of its established values and principles. We must build on these attributes and strive to strengthen our rainbow coalition of governments, civil society and businesses, all united in partnership to deliver public goods and beneficial outcomes to Commonwealth citizens.
I have much pleasure in asking you all to please rise and raise your glasses in toast to the Commonwealth: